Frontline cleric, Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Abubakar Mahmud Gumi, on Saturday urged governments at all levels to provide more facilities in public hospitals, make doctors accountable and responsive and provide a means of taking care of the hospital bills of vulnerable patients, especially those in critical condition.
He also called on wealthy Nigerians to fear Allah and invest for the sake of humanity, adding that what Allah has given them is meant to serve the humanity and that any privileged person who fails to invest for the sake of the less privileged would regret it in this world and in the hereafter.
The Islamic scholar made the remarks during his sympathy visit to two major state-owned hospitals, the Gwamna Awon General Hospital in Southern Kaduna and the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital in Kaduna North.
The New Citizen newspaper reported that the visit came at the end of Gumi’s annual 30-day Ramadan preaching session held at the famous Sultan Bello Mosque in Kaduna.
The cleric’s media consultant, Malam Tukur Mamu (Dan-Iyan Fika), explained in a press release that the visit had exposed the preacher to the enormous challenges vulnerable patients and their relatives face “in a society where virtually everything has collapsed despite the increasing number of millionaires that mostly earned such favours/money through the government at all levels and using all forms of corrupt tendencies to accumulate at the expense of the suffering masses.”
According to Mamu, “The situation of the patients in all the two major hospitals is, to say the least, pathetic and indicting.”
He said the visit afforded the sheikh “a first-hand knowledge about the increasing number of children, including infants mostly, that are dying due to preventable and treatable sicknesses such as malaria and typhoid fever.”
He added: “Greater number of the patients Sheikh Gumi saw did not even have money to feed themselves, not to talk of affording medical expenses even in severe cases of emergency.
“Sadly too, emergency cases don’t receive the desired attention while critical medical evaluations and tests that are supposed to be done immediately and the result be out on time – for patients that have the resources to pay – are being delayed to as much as one and two weeks while decisions in case of patients that required emergency surgery, etc., are being unnecessarily delayed, leading to the death of patients on many occasions, according to the testimony of the helpless patients.”
Shocked by the sad reality he saw, Gumi said he couldn’t believe that this is the country that has many billionaires, most of whom, he said, accumulated their wealth through undue favours from the government or as proceeds of corruption through appointments or contracts.
Gumi offered cash gifts and words of consolation to the patients and their relatives.
Addressing the reporters that accompanied him on the visit, he pointed out that considering the enormity of the challenges of the poor patients, what he gave them was “just a drop in an ocean.”
He lamented the situation where millions of naira are wasted on chartered aircraft to attend wedding ceremonies, children’s graduation abroad or wasting money on Umrah jamboree “at a time when there are more important things to do that will please Allah more.”
The sheikh called on federal and state governments to declare an emergency in the Nigerian health sector, arguing that so much about the condition of our hospitals and suffering patients is not being reported by the media.
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